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Laos, Australia putting renewable energy into action
The Australian Embassy in Laos, Partnerships for Infrastructure, AustCham, and EnergyLab plan to hold a meeting on May 20 to mark the annual Renewable Energy Day, with a special one-day event titled “Laos-Australia: Putting Renewable Energy into Action”.
The meeting will bring together energy experts, development partners and the government to discuss the opportunities of renewable energy.
The event will also address the broader challenge of how to create a more inclusive renewable energy sector.
It’s become almost impossible to keep up with the rapid progress of renewable energy across the world. Records tumble each year, as costs of technologies fall and solutions that seemed impossible become commonplace, according to a press release from the Australian Embassy to Laos.
For Laos, accelerating the clean energy transition offers an incredible opportunity - low-cost power that takes advantage of Laos’ natural resource abundance, expands export opportunities, and provides a path to equitable prosperity.
Ten years ago, there would have been good arguments to resist increasing solar and wind power as being too expensive and too hard. But over the past 10 years, the cost of solar power has fallen by around 90 percent, and the cost of wind power by around 70 percent, according to a report by EnergyLab.
In fact, the cost of renewable energy has fallen so much that the International Energy Agency has said that solar is the cheapest form of electricity in history.
Batteries, which are the vitally important ingredient needed to store renewable energy, have also become much cheaper, with the cost falling by 90 percent over the past 15 years.
As a result of these incredible cost reductions, we’re seeing unprecedented deployment of renewable energy throughout the region and the world.
Last year, the world increased renewable energy capacity by almost 50 percent. The world is on course to add more renewable capacity in the next five years.
In 2023, battery deployment in the power sector increased by more than 130 percent, adding a total of 42GW to electricity systems around the world. We’re also seeing a rapid acceleration in the other clean energy technologies.
In 2023, global sales of electric cars neared 14 million, which is 18 percent of all cars sold and 3.5 million higher than in 2022.
Around 1.3 million electric two-wheelers were sold in India and Southeast Asia in 2023, with nearly one in five three-wheelers sold globally in 2023 being electric.
The Lao government has set a goal for 30 percent of vehicles in the country to be electrically powered by 2030.
This rise in electric vehicles couldn’t come at a better time. Electric vehicles can be an excellent partner to renewable energy, storing power when it’s sunny or windy, reducing demand when there’s less electricity and, potentially, providing power back when it’s needed. 
Laos has already built many hydropower projects and the new 600MW Monsoon Wind Farm shows what’s possible for Laos beyond conventional hydropower. This is a big achievement but the first project is always the hardest, and the path it creates makes it easy for all those who follow.
Laos’ ASEAN neighbours have a huge and growing energy demand, and helping meet this need can support Laos’ economic development by increasing export income and positioning the country to thrive in a net zero future.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
 (Latest Update May 17, 2024)

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